Regardless of industry, product, or service… what are you doing to cultivate a consumer-brand relationship right now?
I don’t mean convenient time frames like “store hours”. Oh no. I mean this very moment. Better yet, what about just before dawn as the morning joggers begin their day? How about as you lay down in that cozy bed of yours for some well-deserved rest? See where I’m going with this? Because, like it or not, a relationship between your business and your customers exists at all hours of the day. Not to mention, every moment your business isn’t relationship building; there’s another business that is. Frankly, if you aren’t planning ways to build that relationship with customers; aren’t you effectively neglecting them? Each passing moment is a missed opportunity.
Consumer Brand Relationship?
“People do business with people they know, like, and trust.” Type this phrase into google and prepare yourself for the barrage of articles trying their best to slap a new coat of paint onto such a well-worn concept. But, honestly, does your business pass this test?
- Do enough customers know about your business?
- Like your business?
- Trust your business?
“Hold it right there”, you interject. “I have an incredible relationship with my customers.” Let me clear things up, naturally, I have no doubt you already understand the importance of relationships in business. I’m sure that your business is already incredibly approachable in the typical day-to-day interactions with said customers. It’s just that, to the above, what reasons are you giving them? How often are they given the opportunity, and is it enough? Look, I get it, these are often uncomfortable questions that some business owners struggle to answer. But, people buy emotionally and then rationalize their decision with logic. Taking the time to genuinely address these questions could prove invaluable for the future of your business.
What About My Time?
“You’re asking me to put more on my plate?”
There’s no doubt about it, time is your most precious commodity. While it’s difficult to admit, regardless of how hardworking and dedicated you might be… There’s only so much of you to go around. Only so many hours you can commit to your business.
So, what’s your plan, your strategy for every other hour of the day; so that your business builds those relationships with consumers? While, I’m sure some of you would love to take on the hypothetical task of single-handedly building each and every relationship involved in your business, as a personal challenge… but, I’m certain there are more, economical uses of your time. After all, do commercial fishing companies employ an army of individual fishermen? Each armed with a single pole and sent out in their very own boats? Of course not, instead, a large boat houses a few fishermen. Working together, and armed with nets they far exceed their individual capabilities. All orchestrated by one experienced captain.
Hint: You are the captain. So let’s get you a boat.
Where Do I Start?
In today’s digital age, the landscape for reaching customers is rapidly changing. There’s more digital services like; apps, social media platforms, and websites, than ever before. With so many options out there; the market continues to grow more and more segmented. At times it’s easy to see why some view the internet as a double edged sword, as while there’s increasingly more ways to reach out and cultivate a consumer-brand relationship with customers than ever before. The sheer amount of platforms and segmentation reduces each individual audience. Not to mention, the local business owner has traditional media; radio, tv, and print to keep in mind as well.
With relationships as the bedrock of business; attention has become the new form of currency. Customers are spending it somewhere; and business owners want it. You have to be present where they are. Simply put, find an audience. (Your audience) Own that audience. Give people a reason to engage with your content and ultimately your business. Most importantly, don’t spread yourself too thin. Some business owners believe they should have “some” presence on every platform. Don’t make this mistake. You need to be fully committed to each platform you choose to cultivate. Is Facebook a good great fit for your business? Great, then be fully present on Facebook. So, does your Facebook account still need some work? Make that your priority. Ensure a strong online foundation before expanding to additional platforms.
Can I just Chase Trends?
Too often, there are business owners that make the critical mistake of hopping between the latest new trends and methods. Where just as the new audience warms up to them and begins to find value in the relationship, they abandon ship and restart. Completely killing all of the momentum they worked so hard to accumulate. That’s exactly what happens when a business owner who… let’s say, has used Facebook posts for the last two years, haphazardly switches over to Instagram because some internet article claimed a “greater return”. I mean, imagine cutting off your actual current friend group and trying to start over from scratch this very moment… There’s virtually no difference. I say this because honestly, as much as some might hope; there really is no silver bullet. Because, ultimately, it isn’t what platform. It’s how you answer the question everyone is asking, “Why you?”. Does your online presence answer this question?
Look, I get it. No platform is evergreen; and the online landscape does seem to change at a breakneck pace. So I’m not advocating for maintaining a “dead” platform like Myspace in 2019. Instead, find the most relevant platform for your audience and cater to them. Sure, years from now, said platform, just might see significant decline and get replaced. However, continue to respect that established audience; at least until the point it longer becomes viable.
So, when it comes to getting this attention; all business owners are well aware of the first two major factors at play, cost (how much) and reach (how many see it) However, there’s another factor that plays a role just as pivotal; conversion. What percentage of those potential customers actually bought your product; or service? While some forms of media are more cost effective regarding sheer size, scale, and numbers… now, more than ever, what truly matters is conversion.
Let me introduce you to an Instagram influencer by the name of Arii. This social media star maintains an account of 2.6 million followers. That’s right, million. Recently, she attempted to sell her new clothing line through said account. In thirteen days she failed to sell thirty six products. 36! That’s a conversion rate less than 0.002%! By traditional accounts, she had it all. 2.6 million People in the Instagram market is nothing to scoff at. However, she failed to cultivate a consumer-brand relationship with that audience. Don’t make the same mistake.
Now, I hope that the next time someone asks you, “What are you doing to build a relationship with your customers right now?”, that you have a definite answer. Find/target your audience and accept the responsibility of cultivating that relationship. Remember, give them a reason to know, like, and trust you; and they will.
By Colten Penrod